Here’s the thing: feminism affects everybody.
Men. Women. Children. Non-binary individuals. It doesn’t matter. Feminism has an impact on us all.
But something that often is not given attention is the concept of intersectional feminism.
Intersectional feminism is the idea that feminism affects not just cis-gendered, middle class, white women–but people from many diverse backgrounds and with varying identities. This means that it is vital to keep in mind that women of color or trans women face struggles of sexism, as well as racism or transphobia.
It is incredibly narrow-minded to believe that feminism is a one-size-fits-all struggle. Feminism is a multi-faceted movement–which is why promoting intersectional feminism is so important.
Ava Vidal of The Telegraph writes that, “The main thing ‘intersectionality’ is trying to do, I would say, is to point out that feminism, which is overly white, middle class, cis-gendered and able-bodied, represents just one type of view–and doesn’t reflect on the experiences of all the multi-layered facets in life that women of all backgrounds face.”
In order to make the new wave feminist movement more progressive, we need to pay greater attention to marginalized groups within the movement. Progress cannot be made if we aren’t recognizing the struggles of all women.
In an article from the Chicago Tribune, founder of Anthem of Us, Ai-jen Poo, said “When you are a black woman or a queer, immigrant woman, your experience of violence isn’t ‘gender inequality plus racial inequality,’ but it’s all of those things at once.”
Intersectionality within feminism is something that will make the movement whole. By understanding all the facets of what feminism can be, and by allowing women of color and queer women to enlighten the world of their experiences, the already rolling ball of feminism can truly only gain more momentum.
The struggles of women of color, disabled women and even queer women all differ substantially from the struggles of white women.
It is important to acknowledge privilege where privilege is on all levels, and the fact of the matter is that white people have more privilege than anyone else in the world. To not recognize that certain privileges bring forth certain opportunities which can be used to push singularly-beneficial goals is setting the feminist movement back.
As explained in an article from Denison, “’White feminism’ ignores intersectionality and neglects to recognize the discriminations experienced by women who are not white. It’s important to note that not all feminists who are white practice ‘white feminism.’ ‘White feminism’ depicts the way white women face gender inequality as the way all women experience gender inequality, which just isn’t correct.”
This is not to say that the struggles being faced by white women are not important and integral to the spread of feminism.
Quite the opposite actually.
White women can use their privilege to help extend the conversation even further. Instead of focusing on issues that impact only women like them, they can use their platforms within the feminist movement to promote intersectionality by giving more marginalized women the opportunity to share their experiences thereby enlightening the overall feminist movement to the struggles of all women.
Acknowledgment is key. Recognizing that the struggles of women of color or transwomen are not the same as those of white women but are equally as important and in need of vocalization can only be beneficial.
Intersectional feminism is the brand of feminism the world is in desperate need of.